Thursday, August 5, 2010

WWE Quarterly Conference Call

WWE held their quarterly shareholders conference call this afternoon including none other than the chairman, Vince McMahon himself, who owned "We had a lousy quarter", referring to a perfect storm of unprecedented wrestling injuries, the Icelandic volcano affecting airings of Raw and Smackdown, and the retirements of Shawn Michaels and Batista. Specifically referring to numbers, while the action figure industry is up 175% due to WWE's new partnership with Mattel, pay per view buys were down 19%, and WWE video games were down 20% from this time last year.

Nonetheless, McMahon pointed to bright spots, including the success of the Nexus storyline, and what that means for the success of the NXT brand; considering the speed of the turnaround, he feels that between the new talent they've pushed leading to higher ratings on Raw and Smackdown TV, and the immanent returns of top talent Triple H and the Undertaker, McMahon is looking to Summerslam as a turnaround point for the pay per view trend. He also referred to the WWE cable network plan, saying that the WWE is planning to pitch to providers sometime next year.

As seems to be the case for the last few years, very much a mixed bag for the WWE. They did hold up under some unprecedented turnover talent-wise, and I will grant I can't remember a time action figures were so popular; but the pay per view buyrate continues to be a killer. I hope Vince McMahon is right about Summerslam as a turning point, and I think we can look to that as a great opportunity of fusing the now somewhat-longstanding focus on new talent (the Nexus being in the main event, for example), along with at least one or two major returns from the DL. Here's to hoping the next quarter is better financially for the WWE than the one past, and that they meanwhile can keep up their creative momentum, which, having been challenged, actually seems to be better than it has been at past times.


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